Ritchie/Attwood’s ministerial failure a blessing in disguise?

With the announcement of spending cuts of £128m from the Assembly’s budget, Sammy Wilson had stated his intention to offset the loses in part with Departmental underspends.

“We knew [this] was coming down the line and when departments surrender money through the year, as inevitably they do, we can maybe use some of that to offset these cuts that have been imposed on us,” Mr Wilson said.

Now DSD has declared a halt to plans to develop the Donegall Street and Royal Avenue area of Belfast a large chunk of money will be heading back to DFP.

DSD planned to contribute £110m to it, which was set aside for land acquisition and urban regeneration linked to the scheme.

It seems despite Alex Attwood’s hope the money will return to his department, DSD’s failure to deliver could immediately cover the bulk of the proposed cuts.

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  • Song for the Republican Convention

    Mark you’re being disingenuous DSD also state:
    “That does not though mean that the scheme has been shelved as we have signed the agreement with the developer who must submit the planning application by 31 October 2010.”

  • Mark McGregor


    Mr Attwood emphasised that the return of money intended for the Royal Exchange would help to relieve pressure on the executive’s budget which is facing cuts of £500m.

  • Looks like a deferral into a future fiscal year then, rather than a cut.

  • Mark McGregor


    You could argue it is a one off saving but a single Department getting caught with such an overspend from a one-off ‘vanity’ project could find its budget substantially cut long term. If they back boilered other stuff once they can surely do it again? Why would DFP give them the £100m in future years when they are allocating it against projects that don’t get completed?

  • Song for the Republican Convention

    The point is it’s not a failure, there is a signed agreement with the developer. So no-one is “allocating it against projects that don’t get completed”

  • Mark McGregor


    The money is being returned, Attwood has noted/declared that and you think DSD will get it reallocated?


    As if a developer can get approval and finance from a bank in any climate, nevermind this one, when £110m has just been removed with no commitment to putting it back.

    DSD fucked up, the project is dead.

  • Song for the Republican Convention

    So Mark, you’re blaming DSD for the financial crisis? Your arguement is fucked up, your post is dead.

  • Mrazik

    The developer needs the DSD in this particular case to compulsorily purchase other land a buildings so that it “stacks up” (for the developer), preferably very high in profit terms.

    Without vesting; no scheme as originally envisaged will proceed.

  • Cynic

    Errrr why do we need more shops and restaurants when many of the existing ones are on their knees, the odyssey just went into administration and Cathedral quarter looks good but I suspect it may struggle? Isn’t there gross overcapacity for the foreseeable future – say 7 to 10 years?

    I am also always very suspicious when there are huge projects for ‘regeneration’ that need very large amounts of public money to persuade the developers.